Greenpeace takes action against a Laguna Lake Polluter

Press release - September 20, 2012
In an action to expose industry polluters that “kill” Laguna Lake, Greenpeace activists today labelled the fence of TNC Chemicals Philippines with the words “Water Polluter” They also unfurled a banner listing the different hazardous chemicals previously identified in a sampling report by the organization as the recipe for the toxic pollution in Laguna Lake.

Laboratory results confirm the presence of heavy metals chromium, nickel, and copper above background levels for normal uncontaminated surface waters.  Another sample showed high concentrations of a variety of carcinogenic organic compounds as well as some carboxylic acid esters.

“Industries that dump toxic chemicals are depriving Filipinos of clean and safe water. What the results show is that there are far too many chemicals that find their way into our water without our knowledge. Worse, these chemicals such as the ones we found in the samples from TNC discharge pipes, are not routinely tested by government,” said Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Philippines.

The labelling of TNC’s facility was part of the series of activities highlighting industrial pollution under Greenpeace’s “Right-to-Know Water Patrol Expedition”. The expedition, launched this month, aims to expose water polluters,  investigate and document potential polluters along Marikina River and Laguna Lake, and draw support for the enactment of policies to bring down toxic pollution to zero levels.

Greenpeace has been calling on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to 1) expand the Priority Chemicals List to include substances that have been proven to be toxic, 2) immediately phase out these hazardous chemicals with specific timelines, and 3) establish a pollution disclosure system.

“The fact that only five (5) chemicals are regulated under RA 6969, demonstrates the lack of capacity and political will to implement the law.  Lamentably because of government’s inaction on hazardous chemicals, it is the public and the environment that suffers,” added Baconguis.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace calls on TNC Chemicals Philippines and other industries to stop dumping toxic chemicals into water bodies, to take responsibility for their pollution and disclose the chemicals they use in their production.

Baconguis reiterated that the government must be able to take urgent legal action against errant companies such as TNC. “As a long term solution, DENR must work towards a Zero Discharge policy for industries,” she concluded.

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For more information:

Beau Baconguis, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +63917-8715257

Virginia Llorin, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +63917-8228793

Notes to Editors:

i. One sample showed nickel at 125 μg/l, chromium at 210 μg/l, and copper at 29 μg/l. Background levels for uncontaminated surface waters usually measures at 20 μg/l, 10 μg/ and 10 μg/ for Nickel, chromium and copper, respectively.

ALSO: See the report Laguna Lake, The Philippines: Industrial Contamination Hotspots

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